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Customer Review

43 of 56 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Killing history might be a better title., January 17, 2012
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This review is from: Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination that Changed America Forever (Hardcover)
Many have noted the historical inaccuracies. The book is interesting to read - up to a point. For me the reading experience was spoiled by the dubious authenticity on several levels. If one claims that there are unanswered questions about the possible involvement of Secretory of War Stanton in the assassination of Lincoln, one better have more than some purported missing pages in Booth's diary. And one better have citations, of which there were none. Even historical fiction often has citations for specific historical information.

Other egregious examples....

Lincoln's office was in what is now known as the Lincoln Bedroom. It is a square room and was never known as the "Oval Office." That term was first used in 1909 for the first of several Oval Offices in the West Wing, which was finished in 1901.

A claim is made that baskets of fruit were sent to the White House with fruit which had been injected with poison and that the fruit was tested before Lincoln could safely eat it. This is an astounding claim to make without citation. How was the fruit injected with poison, what kind of poison and how was it tested? Testing fruit for poisons is a challenge in the 21st century, let alone the 1860s.

Claims are made about the imprisonment of Mary Surratt aboard the Montauk shackled and hooded. This is simply a false claim and one easily checked.

There is just no excuse for calling a book historical and making these kinds of errors. As I noted, even most historical fiction writers try to be historically accurate about well documented historical fact.

It is interesting that several reviewers stated that they learned things in this book which they had not learned in history class or from other history books and that this was praiseworthy. Of course if one just makes up stuff it will not be something found in other history books. Maybe we need a new category for books about history - in addition to the standard categories of History and Historical Fiction we should have one for books like this one: History Made More Interesting
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Showing 1-10 of 20 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 21, 2012 11:55:50 AM PST
A customer says:
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In reply to an earlier post on Jan 22, 2012 4:10:10 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 22, 2012 4:11:26 PM PST
Amanda says:
Ted, the unfounded assumptions and political name-calling you have resorted to in the majority of your comments in this forum have done nothing to advance your argument. These comments reveal far more about your own character than either the quality of the book or the value of the reviews. Please engage in constructive discussion and keep your politicized rhetoric to yourself. You are certainly entitled to disagree with these reviews, but please respond to the discussion in a way that shows critical thinking rather than reactionary insults.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 22, 2012 4:12:43 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 22, 2012 4:16:35 PM PST
A customer says:
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In reply to an earlier post on Jan 22, 2012 4:29:43 PM PST
Amanda says:
All I asked for was polite, constructive discussion, and nowhere did I give any evidence of my political affiliation. What I got in return was condescending name-calling. I'm done here.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 22, 2012 4:35:56 PM PST
A customer says:
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In reply to an earlier post on Feb 5, 2012 7:29:14 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 5, 2012 7:32:30 PM PST
Amanda, this poor guy, Ted, is making a small on-line career of attacking (in the most infantile ways possible) ANYONE who makes serious critical comments on the taudry Lincoln book authored by the man--Bill O'R--who is evidently the political love of his life. There is truly nothing but pity one can feel for such person. He apparently has been called to the gospel of character assassination for all of Bill's critics. I've never said this of anyone before, but he genuinely represents the permanently-stunted sorts whose only actual life is lived in dark corners of the internet.

One can only ignore him. In an actual classroom setting, a university official would permanently bar him from disrupting discussions any further.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 5, 2012 7:41:22 PM PST
A customer says:
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In reply to an earlier post on Feb 5, 2012 7:43:22 PM PST
A customer says:
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Posted on Feb 5, 2012 7:47:29 PM PST
[Deleted by the author on Feb 5, 2012 7:49:47 PM PST]

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 6, 2012 6:07:07 AM PST
Herby says:
Actually Ted I have read the book. That should have been clear when I stated that it was interesting to read. But it has historical inaccuracies and is not properly documented.
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